Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Supermen of Malegaon

Directed by: Faiza Ahmad Khan

Supermen of Malegaon. I thought this title to be misleading as why is it Supermen and not Superman? Obviously I had to be wrong. And how I was convinced to believe the title is the matter.

Malegaon is a small town in Maharashtra known for one of a kind film-making. No less than Hollywood. Due to the prevailing communal tension, Hindus and Muslims reside on the two other side of the town divided by a river. Though majorly Muslims are involved in the film-making, entertainment in the form of video theatres comes to all irrespective of the caste. Though the old orthodox Muslims consider it as a sin watching a film, it is amusing to see how these young cine goers of Malegaon enters a video theater that could give a winning competition to hundreds of crazy bulls left to kill. No wonder why even the gatekeepers fear opening the doors for them. This is the firing passion. Passion to watch cinema and to make them. Where dreams never compromise for big budgets. This is Mollywood. 

Shaikh Nasir is the Ramesh Sippy of Malegaon. And to be Richard Donner. After his magnum opus Malegaon Ka Sholay and Shaan, he covets Hollywood as he worshiped its master style of camera angles, lights, and also it was untouched in Malegaon. Comedy has an eternal soul, he believes. And that's the reason he loves making parody films, with his upcoming Malegaon Ka Superman being one. But this time he aspires to be technically more sound and advanced. He needs to use Chroma (read Karoma) to shoot Superman flying. And you find yourself cheering for him when he succeeds in his attempt. 

"Mai jo karta hoon, usey editing bolte hai," realises Nasir after learning it from newspaper ads of Bollywood films. "Why do Bollywood films need so many people to make a single film? How do they connect themselves with the film which only the director visions?" Nasir reasons with passion. Yes, he does an entire film single-handedly. He's the cinematographer, editor and the director himself.

Farogh Jafri is their screenplay writer with his Urdu language and diction perfect (Believe me, I was stunned to see him ripping apart a pseudo journalist on his misuse of language, later the press screening). He had made a very strong and a clap-worthy point in this documentary: "Be it a film as grand as Titanic or as cheap as Malegaon Ka Superman, the real pain is suffered by the writer as he is the only one who lives with the characters. Only 20% of the writer's imagination finds way into the film, the rest 80% stays with him as a pain which no money can compensate." Mr. Jafri: RESPECT. 

Like every film, Nasir says, this too has a hero (our superman Shafique), a villain (Akram Khan) and a heroine (Trupti). Where the villain wants to spread filth everywhere and wants every child to spit around, the match-stick thin Superman fights every odd, from bursting into a rickshaw to getting dragged into a gutter by the school bus, to save his heroine. 
Superman Shafique while shooting also does other odd jobs but aspire to make it as big as Amitabh Bachhan one day. Sad that he died the next day when Malegaon Ka Superman was screened. May his soul rest in peace.

Faiza Ahmad Khan's documentary delightfully portrays the parallel kind of film-making revolving around the shoot of Malegaon Ka Superman that is so engrossing that you'll forget that you are watching a documentary. And there you learn how ordinary looking men, working at handlooms burns a fiery passion within themselves to earn a living and live their hobbies at the same time. Indeed, they are the Supermen of Malegaon. 

Supermen of Malegaon is not a film. It's a piece of life. Go live it this Friday. 

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